The rise of oblique subjects in Russian

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This paper explores the developmental paths of the <i>u&#43;</i>GEN subject of the <i>be-</i>perfect in the dialects of northern Russia and the dative subject of the <i>be-</i>modal and <i>be-</i>existential constructions in standard Russian in the context of grammaticalization. In this paper, I show that the oblique subjects in question originate from adjunctive phrases denoting location and goal, which shifted to external arguments in the process of argument structure reduction. I construe the rise of these oblique subjects to be the result of the grammaticalization of P that generated and licensed the arguments: the P lost its thematic feature in this process while it maintained the grammatical (<i>phi</i>- and Case) features. Nominative subjects and oblique subjects differ in this respect, since the grammaticalization of P only takes place in the development of oblique subjects.


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